Transatlantic Cruise L1203b on Balmoral

(Please scroll down to see my photographs and report)

Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
20/04/2012 New York City, USA Roosevelt Island cable car
21/04/2012 Oak Bluffs, Mass., USA Martha's Vineyard Island Tour Fog then sunshine
23/04/2012 St. Pierre and Miquelon Cancelled!
29/04/2012 Southampton, UK Home at 10:45 pm!

John, Martin, Michael & Eamonn

John, Martin, Michael & Eamonn

Here is my cruise report...

This return transatlantic crossing after the momentous Titanic Memorial cruise was set to be an anti-climax but fortunately wasn't so. The ship was only a quarter full so there was only one sitting of dinner and one show in each lounge every evening. This made for a much more relaxed time for us, with little rushing between venues. Despite the low passenger numbers it was a more usual FOCL clientele than the previous atypical Titanic Memorial cruise. This meant we had enough dancing ladies to keep us busy! As with the previous cruise the Edwardian quintet was banished to the Observatory making the Lido lounge virtually music-less and dance-less most evenings. I was also able to give a couple of lectures and lead several line dance classes.

The turn around day in New York City (NYC) was free so I walked across town to the Roosevelt Island cable car (or aerial tramway as the Yanks call it) via Central Park and Apple's underground store on 5th Avenue. The ride over the East River alongside the Queensboro Bridge was spectacular and only $4.50 (3) return! I walked back across Midtown Manhattan for lunch and a siesta back on board. The sailaway was as scenic as ever, passing the ESB, the new WTC 1 (formerly called the Freedom Tower) and, of course, the Statue of Liberty, before sailing out into the Atlantic under the Verranzano Narrows suspension bridge.

I was able to catch the first tender into Oak Bluffs on the millionaires' island of Martha's Vineyard on my first visit to Massachusetts, New England. I escorted the Island Tour initially in thick fog but later in glorious sunshine. The one hour of free time in Edgartown allowed me to use the Public Library's free wi-fi before photographing the charming clapperboard architecture which they call 'Federal' but we would call 'Colonial'. The Old Whaling Church and working wharves were very photogenic!

Unfortunately the stop at St. Pierre, the French island off Newfoundland was aborted due to "shallow water". Despite losing this port of call we were still late getting back into Southampton!

On St. George's Day I gave my "Story of the North Atlantic" lecture which was well received. That evening we wore red ties and white shirts but surprisingly it wasn't billed as a theme night. On the rock 'n' roll evening my cabin mate Eamonn dressed as a teddy boy, whilst on the nautical evening he wore a pirate's outfit, whereas I was dressed as a chief petty officer. One hectic afternoon we had a ballroom class, a tea dance and a line dance class in quick succession which necessitated several quick uniform changes! On the penultimate sea day I gave my "Christopher Columbus: Admiral of the Ocean Sea" lecture which was also well received.

The Cruise Director wrote: "As always a special thank you is made to Martin for offering more than normal, taking on the Line Dancing, meetings and giving 2 guest talks on our return journey home. His work and extras really are very much appreciated and we are always happy to try and fit these in."

For the record ...